Pope may bring conclave forward, says Vatican spokesman
VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI may issue a decree that would bring forward the conclave tasked with electing his successor before a date in mid-March scheduled under the current rules, the Vatican said on Wednesday.
"The pope is considering a Motu Proprio (decree) in the coming days... to clarify a few specific aspects of the apostolic constitution on the conclave," spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
Historian Ambrogio Piazzoni said "the pope is the only one who can legislate until the last minute", when he steps down on Feb 28.
The Apostolic Constitution promulgated by Benedict's predecessor, the late pope John Paul II, in 1996 states that the conclave must begin between 15 and 20 days following the start of the popeless "Sede Vacante" ("Vacant Seat") interregnum.